Farewell, Old Friends

Journeys like these often involve meeting people, making fleeting friendships and then instantly moving on. Others become a more permanent feature of your life. Like my old walking trainers. But today they had to be retired, God bless their soles.

I’ve no idea how old they were. I found them in the back of a cupboard. I must have run in them at some stage. I mean, they looked like they’d run several hundred miles. They were knackered really.

But once I’d sort of worked out that my leg and feet problems were probably caused by my overtight new trainers, I gave the oldies a try. Back at my mum’s I slipped into them like a comfy pair of slippers. Oh how lovely they were when compared to the new ones! In them I could have jived a Strictly winning routine. I could have scored a World Cup winning goal. I could have run up a small flight of stairs really quite quickly.

The restrictive newbies got left behind at my mum’s as I restarted in July. And though the old pair were past their best – the material had worn through to the plastic on the heel – they managed over 600 kilometres, taking me through the Netherlands and most of Germany. They were old, but they hobbled on. Like me.

But it started getting painful to wear them. Stepping on a bit of gravel felt like I was walking barefoot. And a quick check of the soles showed that I’d worn right through them. The reason it felt like I was walking barefoot was because I was.

With my footwear near to death I was lucky to find myself in Nuremberg, with plentiful options. I made sure the new ones I bought weren’t too tight. Unlike me, especially when it comes to buying trainers. I got a pair on special offer for €45.

I wanted a fitting end for my trusty friends. Ideally they would have had a hero’s exit, floating out to sea on a wooden raft before being set ablaze and consumed by the heavens. That’s what Thor would’ve wanted for his favourite shoes.

In the end I just left them behind in my hotel room, along with some empty beer bottles and a pizza box. I suspect that’s what Thor would really have done: got a bit pissed, overdone it on the carbs and left someone else to clear up his mess.

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